'Gravity': What the Critics Are Saying

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Alfonso Cuaron-directed film follows Sandra Bullock and George Clooney into space.

Sci-fi thriller Gravity, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday.

Gravity tells the story of a medical engineer named Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) who embarks on her first space shuttle mission, accompanied by astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). When an accident happens during a space walk, they must work together to survive.

The Alfonso Cuaron-directed movie will make its North America premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this year before opening wide on Oct. 4.

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See what Hollywood critics have to say about Gravity:

The Hollywood Reporter's chief film critic Todd McCarthy was impressed by the sci-fi drama, "At once the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space, Gravity is a thrillingly realized survival story spiked with interludes of breath-catching tension and startling surprise." McCarthy added, "Graced by exemplary 3D work and bound to look great in Imax, the film seems set to soar commercially around the world."

Geoffrey Macnab from The Independent described the film as "a visual triumph even if its storytelling is less than sure-footed." The U.K. reporter noted that the "opening scenes have a mesmerizing, abstract beauty," but thought there was one issue with the movie. "The one problem with Gravity is that the plotting never quite matches its visual imagination. There isn’t the same urgency or plausibility here found in J.C. Chandor's recent, similarly themed All Is Lost (which featured Robert Redford as a lone sailor whose boat is sinking.)," wrote Macnab. "Even so, this is a film that, at its best, really does induce a sense of wonder."

The Telegraph's Robbie Collin also found the film visually compelling, "They spin through empty space, and so does the camera, in a series of moves so intricate and yet so natural that only after you leave the cinema do you realise the feats of visual choreography involved." Bullock's performance didn't go unnoticed either, "Bullock is the undoubted star and is seriously good here, giving Stone an inner steeliness that only the very deepest pangs of despair can unsheathe."

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The Guardian's Xan Brooks, who was left uninterested by last year's Venice Film Festival opener, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, said "Gravity provides an altogether more assured curtain-raiser. It comes blowing in from the ether like some weightless black nightmare, hanging planet Earth at crazy angles behind the action."

Over at Screen International, Mark Adams stated that "There will be little disappointment from audiences who are likely to be thrilled by the well-sustained edge-of-the-seat thrills as this space-bound film follows the well-worn disaster movie format and keeps things tense right up until the final scenes." Adams was also awed by Gravity's visuals, describing how director Cuaron "mixes almost balletic, spiraling, scenes as space craft are torn apart and mere humans in delicate space suits are thrown into the void with moments of quiet beauty as the two intrepid astronauts relish the beautiful vistas and deadly beauty they find themselves amongst."